Don’t get choked up — Solving your swallowing issue

Have you ever been eating a meal and felt like something was caught in your throat? You take a sip of whatever is closest to you, but it may not bring relief. What you are experiencing could be dysphagia.

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing foods or liquids. At its most severe, people are not able to swallow at all. This condition can develop at any age, although it is more commonly seen in adults, and there are many reasons the symptom can arise. The treatment options are also variable, but appropriate treatment requires proper identification of the underlying cause.

How do I know if I’m experiencing a swallowing disorder?

The sense that it takes more effort to swallow or that it is taking longer for solids or liquids to move from your esophagus to your stomach are common. However, multiple different complaints are commonly encountered and include, but are not limited to:

  • Choking or coughing while eating and/or drinking
  • Regurgitation
  • Feeling that food is stuck in your chest or throat
  • Excessive drooling or saliva
  • Complications chewing food properly, such as aspiration

I’ve never had issues swallowing before, but now I do. What happened?

No one can predict when dysphagia will develop, and in some cases, it can be difficult to determine what brought about the symptoms. However, it can occur for many different reasons, which is why appropriate evaluation to correctly identify the reason you are having symptoms is so important.

Once your health care provider finds a cause of your swallowing issue, treatment options available they may choose to include are:

  • Procedures to stretch the esophagus
  • Learning new swallowing methods with speech and language therapy
  • Altering how you eat

Have you noticed frequent difficulties swallowing or experience one or more of the previously mentioned symptoms? Reach out to your health care provider or contact UofL Health – Reflux, Swallowing & Hernia Center today at 502-588-4571 to schedule an appointment with a swallowing specialist.

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About Benjamin Rogers, M.D.

Benjamin Rogers, M.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and works within the Motility Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and the practices of UofL Health – Reflux, Swallowing & Hernia Center, UofL Physicians – Gastroenterology and UofL Physicians – Digestive & Liver Health. Both his clinical and research interests are individuals with trouble swallowing or reflux. Learn more about Dr. Rogers by visiting his profile page on UofLPhysicians.com/Providers

All posts by Benjamin Rogers, M.D.